Bluegrass roots run from Lyons to Kentucky by way of Brooklyn

Legendary New York City mandolinist Andy Statman performs Jul 28 at the Rockygrass Festival. (Photo by John Lehndorff)
Legendary New York City mandolinist Andy Statman performs July 28 at the Rockygrass Festival in Lyons, Colorado. (Photo by John Lehndorff)

5:15 p.m. July 28, Planet Bluegrass, Lyons – Bluegrass has a lot of ironclad rules. You have to sing around one microphone. You have to wear suits and ties. Only certain instruments are acceptable and that certainly excludes drums. The final rule is that none of the above applies if you love bluegrass, body and soul.

Mandolin legend Andy Statman truly loves bluegrass, and has since the early ’60s. He also loves jazz, rock and roll and klezmer. And if all those passions happen to surface in the course of one groove-drenched tune, so be it. Playing with a drummer along with Tim O’Brien and brilliant fiddler Michael Cleveland, he brought so much joy to the process that even the twangiest traditionalists in the slightly damp Rockygrass crowd were swept up in the moment.

At the end of a set that ended with his beach rock tribute “Surfin’ Slovitz, Statman said: “I guess we’ll schlep on over to the merchandise tent if you want to say hi.”

Bluegrass is a big tent.


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